Continuing the face off with the Mamata Banerjee government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the top leaders of the West Bengal BJP on Sunday staged sit-in protests at their homes. The party has claimed that the state government has been fudging the COVID-19 figures, and has completely failed in tackling the crisis.
West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh observed a dharna at his Salt Lake home in Kolkata from 11 am to 2 pm. Party leaders Babul Supriyo, Mukul Roy and Locket Chatterjee also protested at their homes.
"We are protesting the state government's failure to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak in West Bengal, its non-performance and corruption in providing ration to the people," Mr Ghosh was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
"The situation is going out of hand and instead of attempting to control the outbreak, the state is trying to hide facts," he added.
The BJP MPs from the state yesterday alleged that they were "forcibly" confined to their homes while Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders and workers were moving around freely.
The MPs alleged that they were served quarantine notices by the local administration so that they could not step out to provide ration and other relief material to the masses.
The BJP and the ruling Trinamool are at loggerheads ever since the Inter-Ministerial Central Team visited the state to assess the COVID-19 situation and issued directions to the authorities.
The central team had shot off two letters to the state administration. In one, it asked for, among other details, an update on the status of the people who attended an event organised by the Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi's Nizamuddin. Many of them were later tested positive for coronavirus.
In another letter, the central team said it had got no logistic support for field visits.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party's in-charge for West Bengal, also protested at his residence in Madhya Pradesh's Indore. He said the Mamata Banerjee government is not helping those in distress because of the lockdown.
"I am sitting on dharna while abiding by all the lockdown rules. I am sitting because the Mamata Banerjee government is not at all serious for combating coronavirus. She is not fulfilling the needs of the poor during the lockdown. The grain which the state received from the centre as a relief is being sold by the Trinamool MLAs," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
West Bengal has 461 active cases. 20 people have died in the state because of COVID-19.
With inputs from agencies